Axis enters access control market
Updated on Sept. 26 with an interview with Fredrik Nilsson, GM Americas for AXIS Communications.
CHICAGO—Network camera provider AXIS Communications is now also a provider of network access control.
On Sept. 24, the opening day of the ASIS International show here in Chicago, AXIS Communications announced that it is entering the physical access control market with the introduction of the company’s first network door controller. The product, the AXIS A1001 Network Door Controller, will be showcased at ASIS International, which is taking place here from Sept. 24-26.
Why access control and why now?
Integrators, software partners, distributors are asking for a well integrated video and access solution from a global provider and AXIS fit the bill, Fredrik Nilsson, AXIS GM Americas, told Security Systems News. Moreover, in its 30-year history AXIS has always “provided intelligent edge devices, this is just another one,” he said.
“On the software side, [our partners] prefer one API [instead of one for] several different devices.”
“Normally, integrators have to have different solutions for the lower end and for enterprise installations,” he said. AXIS’s goal was to provide a device “that would work for one to 1,000 readers, [providing scalability] just like we do on the camera side.”
Billed as a non-proprietary and open IP-based access controller, the AXIS A1001 platform includes open architecture for integration of video or intrusion detection systems, as well as automatic synchronization and data storage capabilities with units that can be managed from any network computer.
AXIS A1001 Network Door Controller is a platform for two different solutions. AXIS Entry Manager (AXIS A1001 with built-in software) "a ready-made solution for small- to mid-sized businesses—such as offices, industries and retail stores—with typically 10 doors and basic access control requirements." The second solution is for "larger enterprise systems. AXIS A1001’s open application programming interface enables Axis’ Application Development Partners (ADP) to meet specific customer requirements."
AXIS did not consider acquiring an access control company (as video provider Avigilon recently did), Nilsson said. AXIS believed it could build a better solution “ from the ground up—systems that are designed to work together,” Nilsson said.
With that said, this launch has been in the works for three years. “It’s been well structured and thought out,” Nilsson said. “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.”
The access control product has been beta tested in AXIS’ Chelmsford, Mass. office for the past two years, as well as other beta sites.
The company’s technicians and sales teams are “well prepared on the product and knowledge side,” Nilsson said. Coincidentally, more than half of its current sales people have sold access control in previous jobs, he said.
AXIS Academy, the company’s training division, has developed a module for access control which all sales people will go through and “which we strongly recommend that all integrator go through as well.”
AXIS has also created a special group of six salespeople who are experts in access control. This group will “work as an overlay [of the entire sales team] providing expertise in access control specifically—with [deep] knowledge of the product and integration.”
Nilsson declined to discuss projected increase in AXIS revenue as the result of this product launch. He pointed out that the global market for access control (about $4 billion) is much smaller than the global market for video (about $12 billion). Initially, the access control product “won’t generate a lot of revenue on its own,” he said. “it will have value because it makes us a more complete partner of edge devices … for our software providers, integrators and distributors.”
Throughout 2013, Axis beta-tested its access control solution with four systems integrators: Diebold; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions; Stanley Convergint Security Solutions; and Wachter. Axis will launch the platform first in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2013, at an MSRP of $599.
Initially, Axis ADP partners include Aimetis, Genetec, IMRON, Milestone Systems, Next Level Security Systems and OnSSI. Those companies "are engaged in the development of solutions, which include video integration and advanced access control functionality," according to AXIS.
Other features of the AXIS A1001 Network Door Controller, according to AXIS are: Open architecture that allows easy integration of video, intrusion detection and other systems; Support for Power over Ethernet to reduce the need for separate power cables and proprietary cables; Cardholder data and system configurations are automatically stored and synchronized between controllers and the units can be managed from any computer in the system; Enabler for an ‘edge’ solution with one controller for each door and a fixed price per door. It is fully scalable, eliminating the traditional central controller multiple of 4, 8, 16 or 32 doors; Support for most existing reader protocols and reader types, and standard IT and security equipment such as door locks and door position sensors; The installation wizard and the color coded connectors help users to complete the installation and verify that door locks, readers and other equipment are connected properly; The API is designed for compliance with ONVIF Profile C, which will enable interoperability between clients and devices of physical access control systems (PACS) and network-based video systems.